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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Visitor


"When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins
 from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

I want to step through the door,
full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness? ...

When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.

I don't want to end up simply having visited this world."

from "When Death Comes"
By Mary Oliver

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Waking Up


The Journey
by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets and clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do --
determined to save
the only life you could save.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Taking Time To Heal

Tomorrow is my surgery. I made this journal page with that in mind. I'm nervous but thanks to the support and love of all my friends I know everything will be fine. I want to thank all of you for your kind words, your emails, your calls, and your prayers. All of them are greatly appreciated! :)

I plan to take a few days to recover and then spend some time with my family. I'm really looking forward to my sister visiting soon. We always have such fun with our movie marathons, art journaling, shopping sprees and general silliness.

Just a while ago I heard crunching of snow outside the door. It is getting kind of late and I couldn't imagine anyone visiting at this hour so I crept quietly to the front room and peeked out the window. There in the moonlight I saw three deer by the window. They were eating berries off one of the trees. They were right there in front of my window and didn't see me! We live up on a ridge and often there will be deer passing through but this is the first time I've been this close. It was such a nice surprise! And a great way to end the evening on a positive note.  ;)


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dark Lady: Journal Page

Been playing with collage and paint in my journal. I love using my CitraSolv pages for the backgrounds. I've torn up a few and pieced them together for this page. They have that look I just can't make with paint. I think they look like concrete here...kind of grungy. LOVE that!

This is a larger journal page; about 9 x 12. I like to work in different sizes. Found this cool sketchbook at Barnes & Noble. It had a Paris street scene on the cover. Couldn't resist that! The paper is kind of thin but when you collage, it holds up nicely. Ooh, I must stay out of there. I've been lusting after one of the Kate Spade Nook covers...I visit it every time I go into the store. Maybe hubby will get it for me for Christmas.  ;)

I've also signed up for a couple of workshops coming up in January. One is with Misty Mawn (yay! finally another workshop with Misty!) You can read about it  here.  And another workshop is with Michael DeMeng (I love his work!) through Creative Souls Ning site. You can read about it here. So lots to look forward to in January.

I want to say Happy Birthday to my brother Jamie. Today he is a big 4-0! Ha! Don't worry, little brother, I'll always be older than you. Love ya!  ;)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

In My Dreams

I always think of my Mom a lot this time of year. I dream about her more. She loved Christmas! ;) She would put up two trees...more if my Dad would have let her. She loved to decorate and have an open house on Christmas Eve. It was very important for her to have the entire family there that night. Others were invited, too, but the family better show up. No excuses! Her eyes would light up when we were all milling about, munching on her cookies and fudge (yummy!), usually teasing each other about something.

So sometimes in my dreams I get these letters from her. It's as if she's on this trip and she's checking in. ;) They are usually just short notes that refer to a vague house she's staying in. It's all very strange but somehow reassuring. She seems happy. She never mentions coming home but she always seems full of energy and busy. That was how she used to be before she got sick: always doing something. ;) I sometimes wish I could just join her now. But I guess we all go when it's our time.

This will be the first Christmas I won't be spending with my family. Due to my surgery being so near the holiday we will just be staying put this year and not be making the trip. But a quiet holiday won't be a bad thing. I'll just keep reading her letters... in my dreams.  ;)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Pretty In Pink: Journal Page


It's good to be back home! Although I already miss Columbus :( I was itching to sketch and paint and get back into my studio with all of my paints and supplies. And I picked up a BIG load of goodies while I visited the Blick Art Supply store in Columbus. :) Lots of huge canvasses, paints, and encaustic paints in many yummy colors... yes, I was in heaven!

So tonight I worked on sketching this girl. I've been in a frilly, girly mood lately. Oooh, I LOVE the color pink! So I sketched her out and painted her all up in a nice sunny background. Then scanned her into Photoshop and added some digital elements. Just playing around with pink: Pretty In Pink. ;)

I was so excited to see that Blick was selling the Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons individually. And I found THE perfect shade: flesh! LOVE it. Used it here on the girl. Blends great with all of the other colors I have. Now I am in my happy place.  ;)

I have to get caught up in my painting class and in the art journal group. So much catching up to do. Just wanted to take a little fun time to play tonight. Also had a close call on my trip back due to bad weather but I DID make it home all in one piece. So I hope to get back in the groove within the next few days.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Highwire


In my highwire days
I can see all the way
from Highwire Days by Psychedelic Furs

I'm off on my trip today! This is how I'll be feeling on the road. LOL! I've been reading about a lot of fatalities lately on the interstate I'll be travelling. It reminded me of this guy...up on the highwire. Hopefully I'll be able to see all the way if there is any danger looming ahead. ;)

This was a digital manipulation I put together a while back. I really liked it. It was a combination of an image I was able to get using the CitraSolv method (man on highwire) and then digitally added the rest. I have a fresh batch of CitraSolv pages that I've packed away for my trip. Of course now the house smells like oranges but hubby can deal with that. ;)

So, let the games begin! I hope to check in at least once from my little retreat. Have a great week everyone. I'll be playing dodge cars for a while out on the interstate but I hope to maneuver everything just fine.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Dream Wonderland

So I go from monsters to Wonderland! You just never know what you'll find here.  ;)  I woke up this morning to a beautiful snowy wonderland. It's still snowing...so pretty! But it can stop now. I have to head out on the road tomorrow and I don't want too much of the pretty white stuff to hamper my trip.

It's strange but I had a wonderland sort of dream last night. Very much like the scene here, only it wasn't wintertime in my dream. Without going into too much detail, there was a forest and there were rabbits. That's all I'm saying. LOL! The weather today and the dream last night...I had to put together something art-related!
By the way, the elements for this digital piece came from Tangie Baxter at Scrapbook Graphics.

Lots of preparations on tap for today: getting ready for my trip, projects I want to take with me. I love working on my art while I'm on vacation. I'm working on some projects for a special friend and I'm so excited about them that I'm taking one of the projects with me. So I have to make sure I have all the supplies I need for that.

I see the snow is still falling so I must get out and do my errands while I can. Hopefully it will stop soon and the roads will be clear for me tomorrow. Wish me luck that I'll get there safely! I'll post something next week. There just may not be a photo to go with it.  ;) For today, though, I will enjoy a little of what's left of my Dream Wonderland...

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Barriers


Your task is not to seek for love,
but merely to seek and find
all the barriers within yourself
that you have built against it.
-- Rumi

I'm rushing around getting ready for my upcoming trip to Columbus this weekend. So many preparations and so many things left to do here before I can leave. But I wanted to at least post a digital piece before I left.

I've talked about the painting class I'm taking. It's about to end and our final assignment has us thinking hard about certain aspects of our life. Without giving away too much of the class, we are to do some soul searching. And that has led me to discussions with friends about their lives, etc. The whole issue of barriers keeps coming up. Barriers that we put up in our lives to keep people out, to protect ourselves, to push people away. Seems like we all do it.

I'm going to visit my BFF this weekend and we are the queens of barrier building. So, yes, barriers are ever present for us anyway. So this weekend I am going to try and work on maybe chipping away a little at some of my barriers and see where that gets me. Being with my good friends, laughing, in the city I love, that has to be a good start I think. I'll let you know if I make any progress.  ;)

By the way, this digital piece was put together mainly with elements from Lily's "End of Love" kit at After 5 Designs. I just love this background paper. It is what drew me to the kit in the first place.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Yesterday


When we were young we used to say
That you only hear the music
when your heart begins to break
Now we are the kids from yesterday...
from "The Kids From Yesterday"
by My Chemical Romance

This started out as a journal page. Then as I painted the sketch I started to like it more. I added the art papers I made from my CitraSolv stash and then added paint to those and really liked where this was going. So now I have this in my art journal and may do another one on canvas.  :o)

I bought the CD by My Chemical Romance over the weekend and really like a lot of the songs on it. Among them was the one I quote from here. Another one I just can't get out of my head is "Scarecrow". I'm going to have to do an art piece on that one; it keeps calling my name. I'll be blasting this CD all the way to Columbus this weekend, I can already tell.

This piece just makes me happy. It reminds me of myself, both as I am now and as I was younger. Escaping into music when things get to be too much. And the sunglasses just make me happy! I used to always have lots of pairs of sunglasses in the car. They were kind of like purses: I could never have too many! ;)

I worked on this collage all evening while watching football with hubby. I had the art journal spread out in front of me and all of my papers, paints, gel medium, etc. It was relaxing and brought back a lot of memories. It was funny, though, because I was listening to the iPod as I worked on it, too! I guess some things never DO change! ;)

It's been a low key weekend and today was a nice ending to it. I hope you all had a safe and happy holiday weekend. I'm really looking forward to next Sunday. Another trip to Columbus for a week. I have to get a lot done around here this week before my trip but I hope to post at least once or twice more before I leave. I'll have computer access while I'm there so all is not lost!  ;)  Stay tuned...

Friday, November 26, 2010

When The Rain Comes

More art journal work. The girl is an illustration by Kat Macleod. I LOVE her work. I want to draw figures like that when I grow up!  ;)  I cut and pasted her in. Then gave her a colorful umbrella, raindrops and background. I wasn't really sad when I put the page together; it must have been all the rain we've been getting over the past few days. I was in more of a laid back, funky, colorful mood!  ;)

I have tons of  fabric in my studio and sometimes I'll incorporate some in my art. But for my journal work I usually just make a copy of it and paste it in. I found this tie-dye looking piece that was kind of cool so I copied it and used it here. I thought it suited the girl pretty well. ;)

I'm trying to get organized in my studio again (still?). That's an ongoing project that never really lasts for long. Things tend to get scattered and piles accumulate when I'm painting. Right now it's hazardous to even walk in there.  :(  So I have to force myself to go through the piles and set things in some kind of order so I can get back to work. I've never been a neat, tidy, organized person and this late in life I'm not going to change. But I do need to take a breather now and then to at least clear a walkable path through the chaos. I think it's hard for me to concentrate on other projects when I know the studio is in shambles. It's always nagging at me in the back of my mind... strange but that's how it is!

Still working on some special projects for special friends. I'm a bit slow in my progress but I'll get there. I'm having a quiet holiday weekend but that's the way I like it. I hope you all are enjoying yours as well!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bring On The Dancing Inkblots: Journal Page

I thought I would lighten things up a bit today and send in the dancing inkblots. Ha! How fun are these? This is my journal page for the current prompt: "shapes" in the Journal Journey group at Roses. I decided to drop India Ink on the page and see what developed. I thought they looked like dancers... I let it sit for awhile and last night, watching the dreadful football game with hubby, I started playing with these little guys and began to giggle. They just came to life, dancing across the page.  ;)

My favorite is the gal in the turquoise. LOVE her expression, if I do say so myself! ;) She's just having too much fun. Anyway, I thought I would send just a little fun to lighten up your Tuesday. :o)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Far Away


For S.

This is a painting I did for a friend in Ohio. At this time of year I realize how much I miss all of my friends. I'm so happy that I am going to get another visit to Columbus before my surgery! I am lucky enough to be able to see the ol' gang again the second week of December. I plan on remembering every single minute of it. Sometimes I feel like I am just so far away from everyone, but really I'm not. I'll trade a four hour drive for a week of bliss anytime! ;)

I think I'm finally caught up on my painting class now. I have a few other personal projects that I've taken on that I'm very excited about so I'm keeping busy behind the scenes. It looks like I'll probably not be making the trip home for Christmas, though. Surgery will be a few days before... but that's okay. That time of year I would just like to spend some quiet time here for a change. 

So things are slowly moving along. There are some other works that I hope to be able to post soon! :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Experimenting


"... a lifetime isn't long enough for the beauty of this world
and the responsibilities of your life ...
scatter the flowers over the graves, and walk away,
be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance ...
in the glare of your mind, be modest,
and beholden to what is tactile, and thrilling."
--Mary Oliver

First I want to thank everybody who has sent me their well wishes. You are all awesome! Thank you! I will be having surgery in December and hopefully be on the road to recovery after that. ;)

I haven't been updating my blog very much because I've been busy painting! Ooh, I am having so much fun in Wyanne's class and doing a little experimenting on my own. We are learning a ton of new techniques, getting some challenging assignments and I'm really just soaking it all up. I hope to have something to show in a couple of days.

This is a digital piece I put together with some elements from Scrapbook Graphics. The background is a compilation of some of my art papers merged together with papers from various digital kits. As always, Mary Oliver's words are an inspiration to me.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Reflecting


I'm finding myself having to make a few decisions. Some health problems have come up and now they loom overhead like vultures. I hate hospitals and doctor visits. That's ironic since I worked in a hospital lab for years analyzing blood. I guess it's different when you're not the patient. ;)

Today I'm trying to stay busy tidying up my studio space. Ooh, it's gotten out of control again. Part of this activity is avoiding the latest assignment in the painting course I'm taking. It's a challenging assignment and I'm frustrated that I can't figure out what to do with it. I think my mind is just too full right now. So cleaning is always something that can be busy work and productive at the same time. After I exhaust myself with that, I think I'll just take a nice hot bath and relax with my iPod. Music seems to always take me to a nice place! :)

Oh, speaking of that, I made the mistake of checking out iTunes yesterday. I discovered so many new (to me) bands and songs... so my iPod is full of new music now. They are so sneaky how they entice you. After you download a song you like, then they suggest other bands you might like. They get me every time. ;)

At least Fall has returned. A lot of people were excited that the warm temperatures were back this week. But I love the cool weather. It's soothing to me. I like the crisp air blowing, the leaves falling...it's my favorite time of year. The yard is full of leaves now and even the deck is full of them so maybe I'll go out and rake for awhile. Anyway, Sundays are good for reflecting...that's what I'm doing today.

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Different Realm


"I seem to stand outside the realm of God's mercy." 
-- John Cheever

I can so relate! This quote has stayed with me for decades. I have a bookcase devoted to writers and poets, along with their journals and notebooks. I love reading their journals and seeing inside their heads. Those journals fascinate me. It surprises me sometimes to see that these favorite writers and poets that I admired so much struggled with a lot of the same pain and insecurities that I do. Sometimes when I come across a line that stays with me I'll write it down in a notebook I keep. From time to time I'll look it over and it gives me ideas for my art or it will give me my own starting points to write about.  

I woke up this morning and just had to paint. Had to. I haven't felt this strong an urge to get to the canvas in a long time. I tossed and turned last night with so many thoughts in my head. So I was surprised I was driven to the studio so early. Cheever's quote kept coming to me all night and I dreamed strange dreams intertwined with that theme. Dreams about childhood and all the crap that was hammered in my head. Without going into gory details, suffice it to say that my Dad has always made it quite clear that no matter what I do I am never going to measure up to his expectations. So I feel quite at home with Cheever on his thoughts.

On my Dad's last visit we had another terrible argument. We've always had an antagonistic relationship ever since I was a teen. I think it's the Taurus in me. ;) Mom used to always act as the buffer. Since she's been gone, I've tried to make more of an effort to be, I don't know, more civil. So I was trying to point out some of the good things I've done: being the only one of five children to graduate from a university, made it on my own without ever asking him for a dime, done pretty darn well for myself, etc.  

All I got in response was more of the same disappointment, blah blah blah. So, thinking over all of this, I realize I am never going to please him. And thanks to a very dear, very wise friend (thank you, David!) I am reminded that you can't please other people; only yourself. You do the best you can and you go on.

So, fast forward to this morning. I'm painting away and end up with this painting: I call it A Different Realm. In this realm there is room for mercy. For everyone. ;)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Working Through It


This Gentle Surgery

Once more the black blade of a morning breeze
glides almost too easily through me,

and from the scuffle I've been sutured to
some flap of me is freed: I am severed

like a simile: an honest tenor
trembling toward the vehicle I mean

to be: a blackbird licking half notes
from the muscled, sap-damp branches

of the sugar maple tree... though I am still
a part of any part of every particle

of me, though I'll be softly reconstructed
by the white gloves of metonymy,

I grieve: there is no feeling in a cut
that doesn't heal a bit too much.

by Malachi Black

Just doing a bit more journal work. I can't seem to do much to please some people this week. Trying to work through it.  ;)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Ride A Painted Pony

In the painting course I'm taking we are not supposed to give away too much about the content. So, let's just say we are doing a little work with our inner child. One thing I loved, loved, loved as a child was going to the county fair. I loved to ride the carousel. That was my favorite ride. (Well, that and the Tilt-A-Whirl, but that's another story).

I would love to walk around the ride and very carefully pick out my favorite horse and my Mom would lift me up and place me on it. Then I would make her leave the ride and stand where I could see her, off to the side, and wait for me until the ride was over. I would just hug the horse's neck, giddy with joy, listening to that magical music anticipating when the ride would start.

So we are channeling that little girl again this week in our painting exercises. While I had a little of that magic still in me, I decided to do this little digital piece. My friend Kimmie provided a starter image of the girl in a pink dress. In Kimmie's image, the girl is walking in a field of green grass. We were told to put her in any world we wished. So I put her on a carousel pony and had her look back, just for a little while, to a magical world where she's a little girl again and her Mom is still standing a few feet away laughing, watching over her, and she knows she is safe and loved and there's not a care in the world.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Wild Geese: A Journal Page


I've been working a lot more in my art journal lately. This morning I opened to this background that I had painted yesterday. If you could look into my soul right now, these would be the colors you'd see. When I woke up, I had this poem on my mind. It's one of my all time favorites: "Wild Geese," by Mary Oliver. I remember the first time I read it. It was like someone literally woke me up from a stupor. The first five lines really hit home. After being raised with quite the opposite message, this was a lifesaver. I adore this poem and have it posted above my art table. If you click on the photo you can get a better view of the poem. This is just where I am today...

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

And The Music Plays On


Sometimes solutions aren't so simple
Sometimes goodbye's the only way

And the sun will set for you
The sun will set for you
And the shadow of the day
Will embrace the world in gray
And the sun will set for you

So I'm obsessed with music lately. These are lyrics from "Shadow of The Day," one of my favorite songs from Linkin Park. Do you ever get a song in your head and it just won't leave? This one has stayed with me for days. But I really love it so it's okay that it's playing over and over. And maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm also playing it repeatedly on my iPod while I write or work in my art journal.   ;)

I'm still trying to adjust to a regular schedule now that I'm home from my trip. I'm also trying to get my emotions back on track. So listening to music, thinking about a lot I left behind leaves me sad. I need to move on and rejoin the here and now.

I knew I'd be feeling like this when I returned and I was hoping I could find a distraction. I didn't really plan it quite this close but I'm taking an online painting course. The first week happened to fall while I was away so I'm already a week behind. But this will make me focus. I thought it sounded like a great class. It's called Paint Free and it's taught by Wyanne. She wants to help you develop your unique painting style; not one that mimics someone else. Well, we shall see what develops! Stay tuned.

That's one of the things I do like about digital art. It's nice to do in Photoshop what I wish I could do with paint and brush. So if I could paint properly, I'd do a piece like the digital one above.  ;)  I did happen to stop at a real, bricks and mortar DickBlick Art Supply store while in Columbus. Ooh, I found some yummy encaustic paints that I had not seen in their catalog. Yep, I grabbed them up and now I'm trying to decide what to paint with them. So, I'm thinking all of this through. I'm sure something will come to me and I'll be back to "normal" soon.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Fear of Flying

I'm back home from my trip. Got a late start on the road Sunday due to my procrastinating. Eventually I had to just get in the car and go. We both had tears in our eyes as we hugged and said goodbye.  :(   But I have another visit planned for sometime early December. So that is something to look forward to.

I wish I could travel more. I mean really travel. There is an encaustic workshop planned for this summer that I really would love to attend. It has the best teachers lined up, some of my very good online buddies are attending, all of the incentive in the world to go. Except...it's in Oregon. And I'm in Indiana. So I'd have to fly. That means an airplane. I'm already having a panic attack just thinking about it.

I have flown before. It wasn't pretty. My first time was with my husband. I figured that would be okay. It was a short flight from Columbus to Madison, WI. No biggie. We didn't even have to change planes. He didn't think it was a good idea that I insisted on a window seat. But I didn't want the aisle; plus I couldn't help myself. I had to look out the window. So we're flying along, me with both hands glued to the armrests. He kept trying to talk to me but I just kept trying to remember to breathe. Then it got bumpy. The plane would jump, then fall.

That did it. I started to panic. I looked at him and he had this horrified look on his face. "Are you crying?" he asked. Well, yeah! I was terrified. Who knew you would be flopping around in the air like that? He kept saying it was fine. It was just turbulence. No, it was not fine! It was a nightmare. I just closed my eyes. The flight attendant came by. He assured her it was okay; that it was my first time flying. It was humiliating (for both of us). And this was a short flight. The only thing I could think of (besides falling out of the sky) was that we'd have to do this again on the trip home. I could not believe he had talked me into this.

So, fast forward to a few summers ago. He was going to London for a business trip. All my life, the one thing I've always wanted to do was visit London. He asked if I wanted to go because I would need to get a passport and make a lot of preparations beforehand. Well of course I wanted to go. But I knew I wasn't going to. No way was I going to be able to endure an international flight. Because that would incorporate my other fear: water! That would mean flying over water. Just give me my heart attack now and get it over with.

I think he was actually relieved when I told him no. So he went on and I stayed home beating myself up. He would call, describing all of the places I'd never see. At least I have the photos. But of course it's not the same. He is planning another trip back there in a few years. Maybe I'll figure out a way to get there yet. But I digress... This encaustic workshop would be such a great time and I would learn so much.

I am so hampered by my fears. Not just the flying but others, as well. And all of the rationalizing doesn't help. You know, when people say "Oh, it's the safest way to travel...blah, blah, blah." My friend and I were talking about this during my visit. She asked what, specifically, about flying scared me so much. I said it was the crashing and burning part. "So I guess I'm really afraid of dying," I said. Hmm... The conversation took a different turn there. That meant another bottle of wine and then we got sidetracked.

So, I'm getting advice from everyone: from different drugs to take to getting liquored up, and everything in between. I'm not sure how those would work out since I'd be travelling alone. But I'll sort it all out and see what I can come up with.

The art piece at the top is a combination of a few of my art papers that I merged together in Photoshop and then printed out onto silk. I LIKE! :) When I think about my fears, these colors came to mind, and this piece is what I came up with. I only wish it were this easy to get rid of them!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Impressions

This is one of the few posts that I don't have a photo to accompany it. I'm still on my vacation and I'm using my friend's computer. I'm on my own for a little while today so I'm taking advantage of the time to work in my art journal a little bit. I brought along a few supplies for background pages and played with those this morning.

I've been working more in my writing journal. I think it's all of the memories bombarding me as a result of being back in Columbus. Ooh it's nice being here again! Although I was surprised that I've actually gotten lost a few times driving around. I've never had a very good sense of direction but, in my defense, the city has grown. Yes, some people would say Columbus is not that big of a city but to me it's just the right size. I'm soaking it in!

My friend and I are having the best time. We are staying up way too late, sleeping in, laughing until we cry... and this is going on every day. It's so therapeutic. Every now and then I'll be struck by something she says when she describes me. It's like she's talking about someone else. I'll file that thought away and we'll move on. One night she was on the phone with another friend and I overheard her talking about our visit (I swear I was not eavesdropping!) and she was describing the different contradictions about me. They were all very complimentary but I thought they were funny as seen through her eyes.

I've been writing this morning and thinking over a few of these impressions. I guess it's true that I see myself a certain way and my friend sees other sides of me that I really am not even aware of. But I notice when I describe some of the contradictions in her personality she has the same reaction, so maybe it's just that we know each other so well. We often finish each other's sentences and can even tell what the other is thinking by just a look. Yes, we have been very close friends for many years.

Today I'm taking my camera out and hoping to get some photos of the city and the surrounding area. It's nice and chilly outside, the way I like it. I packed all of these fuzzy warm sweaters and jackets and when I got here it was 75 to 80 degrees everyday.  :(   Now the weather is starting to cooperate!

I'm itching to make some art! When I get back home I'll be able to let loose in the studio. I am gathering all of these impressions in my various journals and I can maybe pull them together in some art pieces when I return home. Right now I'm still enjoying my friends, these crazy hours we're keeping and a few more days of just breathing it all in.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Surrendering To Dreams


Little Diary of Getting Old: VIII

And then at night, when old,
we start having vague pointless
scraps of dreams that lead us
to this place or that, since even
our failing senses insist on
outings: and lost friends reappear,
sleepwalking through the stupor
of surrendered existence...

Carlo Betocchi
Translated from the Italian by Geoffrey Brock

This is part of a poem that really took my breath away as I read it. I go through phases where I seem to be having these dreams that are so real. They usually involve my Mom. In them I know she's dead but there she is sitting there talking to me, looking like she always did. Those are the toughest ones. 

And she has been in my dreams almost every night. They are not really about her; she's just in them. I think it's because I'm leaving today to go for a week's visit back home. Well, not home, really. Back to Ohio. I'm visiting my closest friend who I haven't seen in nearly five years. We get to have a week of just "girl time". She's got lots of crazy things planned, old friends I'll be reunited with. This will be good!

But driving the four hours to Ohio, all the grief always comes back. It has been six years now since Mom's been gone. Some days it still feels like a hammer hits me in the stomach, taking my breath away. And I realize all over again that I've lost her. And so I try to put on a brave front and smile for my friend. Her mother just turned 92 and lives near her. She sees her everyday and they are still very close. I try not to wonder why my mother was taken at age 64 every time I see someone else with their mother.

So in my dreams, lately, my mother is just on the periphery. She's there but not really participating. She's just with me, I guess; a presence. I painted this little piece with that in mind. The girl represents me and the glow around her is the love and warmth of a mother that never leaves. Now I can head off on my trip in a better frame of mind. Maybe with a little extra presence with me to keep me company during my drive. 


Friday, October 22, 2010

Light and Dark: Two Journal Pages

I am doing a lot of playing in my art journals lately. Maybe it's because the prompts are making my Muse happy! The top spread is from the latest prompt in the Journal Journey group: "the darkness". Yay! Loved that prompt! I sketched the face and then added the body (minus the head) from a fashion magazine.

The background on the facing page is a piece of CitraSolv paper I had in my stash that I added some Caran d'Ache Neocolor II crayons to. I didn't know how well the CitraSolv paper would take to the crayons and the water but I was surprised at how well it held up to the addition of both. Good to know for future reference!

The words are from the song "Monsters" by Hurricane Bells. LOVE that song! Ooh, I had so much fun with this prompt. I would love to make a little family of these ghoulish people!  ;) I've had this Moleskine journal laying around for ages and forgot how much abuse you can give the pages. So I plan on using it a lot more!

This next page is in response to the free class I'm taking from Tam at her Ning network. Click on the button in my sidebar called Art, Heart and Healing for the info. You can join anytime and it's jam packed full of cool journaling techniques. She's incredibly generous to offer so much content for free. Check out her site. The first class alone covers how to draw a stylized portrait, paint it, and painting and collaging a journal background. And, if that wasn't enough, she talks about healing in your life and ways to journal about that. And that's just what's covered in the first week! Did I mention this is a FREE course? The generosity of some artists is just mind-boggling. So wonderful and refreshing!

So here is my girl for the first week. She's decided to be positive and go out and make music and dream dreams! I've used this quote before in my art because I just love it.

That's one of the things I love about art journals. You can play with the different sides of your emotions: the dark AND the light. You can be messy, be funny, be serious, just be YOU!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Warhol Encaustic

Here's a new twist on an old art piece I did. Remember my Warhol collage? This was the one I did with the Citra Solv papers (and it won their contest!). Here is the original on canvas:

I've been reading about applying encaustics over habotai silk and have been wanting to give it a try. So I made a copy of this collage onto a sheet of habotai silk and then applied that to a 12" x 12" Claybord that had two coats of encaustic gesso on it. Then I painted different layers of encaustic paints and medium over the silk. Worked like a dream. Oh, I love the possibilities of painting over the silk in the future...

So if you know anything about Andy Warhol you know he liked to drip various things onto his canvas. We'll just leave it at that. I improvised and dripped encaustic paint onto this one. ;) LOVED how it turned out and now he's joining his twin in our living room. Hubby says enough Andy and please put something else in the living room. He prefers abstracts to paintings of actual people. We'll see...

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Home Fires

This is a new encaustic painting called "Home Fires". It's 12" x 12" x 2" on cradled wood. I was intrigued with a few encaustic artists who incorporate graphite powder into their paintings. I loved that look so I wanted to give it a try. I am very excited about the possibilities with that! I also wanted to make my own stencil and use the graphite powder on that so I made a crude house stencil and then smeared the powder on my fingers and was able get the "burned" house look I wanted. Then I just covered the whole thing with encaustic medium.

I'm slowly getting used to the torch. It's a bit scary but I like how it makes the wax smooth. It can also make really cool dripping effects which I'll use in other paintings. Now I have to go prep some more boards!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Love Song

This is an art journal page I did in response to the prompt "favorite musical instrument". I chose the saxophone. I don't play any musical instruments but I've always loved jazz music and the sax. This was great timing for this prompt (It's part of the Journal Journey group at Roses on My Table.Ning). Hubby and I celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary on October 13 and we met at a Jazz/Wine Festival.

This version of the page has some digital enhancements. I added some digital brushes (paint splatters) and the frames around the edges. I especially liked the one paint splatter that looks like a heart. The rest is all the original hand-made page. I tried drawing a saxophone but it was not pretty so I glued a photo of one onto the little jazz guy that I sketched.

It's been a wild 20 years. We've had some great times, been through some sad times but have come through it all. Here's to many, many more years together!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Like A Dream

My sister spent the past week with me and, as usual, we had so much fun together. And I was sad to see her go. We laughed a LOT and the time was just too short.

She is my technology expert so when she visits I like to take advantage of that. I upgraded to an iPod Nano while she was here. Oh I have to say I am loving that little toy. We had a lot of fun searching iTunes for old and new music to load. Someone please keep me away from that site for awhile. I could be dangerous. ;)

One thing I realized this week was how much the fantasy genre influences my art. (That is what inspired the digital piece at the beginning of this post.) We both had our Nooks and were at Barnes & Noble one day browsing the ebooks. It's funny because I never used to read any fantasy/sci fi. She was always reading that genre from the time we were teens; I never got it. Now I've totally changed my preferences and my Nook is almost full of it. Go figure. The darker, fantasy fiction really interests me now and I love the ideas it is giving me for some art pieces I'm trying to put together: emphasis on the word trying.

Speaking of trying new things: hubby agreed (reluctantly) to my using a propane torch for my encaustics! Yay! Gulp!! I love my heat gun and my tiny butane torch. But after watching Daniella Woolf and other encaustic artsists, I see the results they achieve with their torches. I knew he'd be very nervous about me handling a torch. It even sounds ridiculous writing it. But I want to get serious with the encaustics. Plus I want to attempt larger pieces. I've got all the added safety equipment needed to take this next step. So after my "lesson" with the torch tonight I'll be ready to go. Stay tuned and cross your fingers that no accidents will occur.

I've been experimenting with a really cool technique of transferring graphite drawings to encaustic. So easy! The tricky part for me is the heating afterward. Transferring the graphite is a piece of cake. I did it with no problem. Unfortunately I had my heat gun set too high for the fusing part.  And when I went to fuse the graphite to the wax it was too hot on one spot and melted that area. Grrr...... So I need to practice with that a bit more. But I love the possibilities of that technique! I don't have anything presentable to show yet.

My other pieces I talked about in the last post are still sitting there glaring at me. I haven't done anything to them yet. I'm wanting to either transfer a graphite drawing to one of them or collage something...still deciding. Maybe my torch will inspire me. Maybe I'll just set them both on fire... no, just kidding.  ;)

So that's where things stand right now. Getting ready for my "torch" lesson. This should be interesting. But he has my safety (and the house's) in mind and I'll pay close attention. Hopefully there will be something to show soon!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Listening

This is how I feel this week. Like the girl in the photo (not me). Looking out over the water... thinking... listening. I'm just a little frustrated. I've been working with my encaustics the last couple of days. I love them, I do. I just wish I were more experienced with them.

You know how you get an idea of how you want something to look? Well, I've got quite a few of those ideas in my head. But when I went to actually translate some of those ideas onto wood...I did NOT end up in my happy place! So I have three canvas panels sitting in my studio in different states of ... I don't know what. So I'm letting them rest and then I'll just listen to what they have to say to me tomorrow.

I knew I was at a stopping point today when I just started laughing. I remembered, of all things, a video that Gary Reef had posted on his Ning site a while back. He must have been having one of these days but he was handling it much better than me. He is such a great inspiration and SO funny! Anyway, he was talking about his day and then out of the blue he said something to the effect that after working all day and trying to make things fit and then re-trying to paint over things, blah blah blah...what he finally ended up with was something that looked like a big pile of doggy doo doo. Then he just laughed it off.

Well I was getting dangerously close to the doggy doo doo look and encaustic wax is not cheap so I decided to turn off the hot plate and do something productive like laundry. But I've been thinking about ways to salvage those three canvases. Of course there is always the last resort: paint the whole thing titanium white and then scrape back and see what colors show through. And that may still be my best option. I'll see what my morning walk in the cool weather with the loud music blaring in my ear buds does for my Muse.

By the way, this digital piece was made with elements from a kit called Poet's Keepsakes by Lorie Davison at Scrapbook Graphics.With a name like that I had to grab it up. It's a pretty amazing kit and at least I could do something creative today that did take me to my happy place!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Waxing Poetic


I made it into the studio and was able to play with my encaustics! I did manage to work on two pieces. The top piece is called "Waxing Poetic". It is 5" x 5" x 2" on cradled panel. This is totally inspired by my favorite encaustic artist, Daniella Woolf. I just received her recent book and DVD called Encaustic With a Textile Sensibility. And I highly recommend BOTH if you are into encaustics. I show the cover of the DVD at the bottom of this post and will talk a little about both in a minute.

The top piece was modeled after some of  Daniella's work. She has some phenomenal pieces where she does this exact thing. These are journal pages that have been run through the shredder. Then they are laid onto the wax and adhered with the encaustic medium. The middle strip is tissue paper with writing on it and then silk organza overlaid on top. Both are covered with a layer of encaustic medium.

The brown spots that you barely see are on the very bottom layer. Those are burn spots. I used my torch to just burn different spots randomly. I love that look. That was another of Daniella's ideas.

This next piece I call "Billboard". It is 8" x 8" x 2" on cradled panel. I love the look of old billboards that have layers and layers of paper on them. I tried to get that feel in this piece. This is many layers of encaustic paint and collage. I had some journal strips left over from the first piece and decided to use those as a border around a fabric piece of symbols I had picked up in a thrift store a while back.

Here is the cover of Daniella's DVD. The book has a different cover. These are two different items. The book is actually a wonderful collection of different encaustic artists' work and a little about each artist and their technique. It is filled with beautiful inspiration and gorgeous photographs. The DVD is full of Daniella's work and instruction on how she achieves her results. Both are totally worth the time and money. She is awesome to watch and her work is amazing. It's like sitting down and visiting with a good friend. You actually get to see her go through the steps of the techniques. I loved it!

Now that I've reacquainted myself with the hotplate and have a supply of new wax paints I am ready to start more paintings this week. The weather is cooperating: no more unbearable hot studio! So stay tuned for more wax!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Three Things: An Art Journal Page

This is a journal page I did for an art journal group I belong to online. The prompt was to use our favorite color. I picked purple. I thought it was interesting that when I went to work on this prompt a piece of paper fell out of the journal that had a poem printed on it. It was by Mary Oliver, one of my many favorite poets, and the poem was, In Blackwater Woods. These lines really spoke to me as I read the poem so I typed them up, put them on some colorful paper and pasted them onto the page.

Considering my last post, I thought this was an appropriate follow-up. And so timely! My Muse must still be working on this theme. I had forgotten that I put the poem in the journal. I had planned on using it for something else but I thought it would work for this prompt.

I liked working with the paint again. I just smeared it all over the page with my fingers. I find I am doing that more and more now, not even using any of my brushes. Then I took some scraps of CitraSolv paper that I had in my stash and glued those on, covered them with more paint and then added the word strips. The heart is made from CitraSolv paper that I cut out using a wooden heart as a template and then smeared a little paint on it after it was glued onto the page.

After I scanned this photo into Photoshop I added a few shadows here and there and then my initials but that's about it. It was fun to just "get my hands dirty" and play! And speaking of play, I am going to be able to break out the encaustics this weekend. Looks like the temps will finally be cool enough to open the windows and plug in the hot plate. Hope to have something to show by Monday!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Let Go


I put this together over the last couple of days. I think of it as a digital art journal page. This is another digital/drawing combination. I drew and colored the girl lightly with colored pencils and then scanned and painted over her in Photoshop. The rest is all Photoshop and digital kits. I call this Letting Go because this is how I love to paint when I do get out the easel and paints. Splash it on, splatter it around and let it drip. I love that look, the freedom that comes with it and all the release!

The words are lyrics from a song by Mutemath called Spotlight. This verse always gets to me. It reads: "...the one thing you're fighting to hold, will be the one thing you've got to let go" Those words are so true for so many things in life. I think you are probably still learning this lesson from the time you start to rebel as a youth, up until you die. I know I am still struggling with it at times.

But I am a stubborn person and it takes me longer to learn lessons than others. Could be the Taurus in me. ;) Regardless, these words rang true for me this week and I wanted to journal about them. I did in my written journal; for pages and pages. But then I wanted to make something visual and this is what I came up with after I drew the girl. That helps. Now I can move on to the next issue my stubborn self wants to hold on to...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eyes On Fire

I haven't done any sketching for a long while. I have had my sketchbook and my drawing board sitting right beside me for months, glaring at me, daring me to pick them up. Hmm... Finally, yesterday I did it. I thought I'd try sketching a model from a magazine (one of my favorite things). So I got the basic things drawn in my sketchbook and then colored her in with colored pencils.

After I scanned her into Photoshop then I had fun putting her into this piece. I "painted" her some more with Photoshop and added other elements from the Stark digital kit that I mentioned from the previous post. I was listening to my iPod while working on this and "Eyes on Fire" by Blue Foundation started playing. This verse stuck with me:

Eyes on fire
Your spine is ablaze
Felling any foe with my gaze
And just in time
In the right place
Steadily emerging with grace

I especially like the first and last lines: Eyes on fire... steadily emerging with grace. And there was my lady!

I worked on this piece all morning. I guess I was pretty engrossed with it. And since the ear buds were blaring I couldn't hear if hubby was saying anything from downstairs. I noticed my phone lit up beside me on the desk. I had a text message. It was hubby: "I'm having soup...are you going to eat today?" LOL! Pretty sad when you have to text each other to talk!

Funny how you know you enjoy something and yet you don't do it. I forgot how fun it is to just play with sketching faces. I'm not perfect but I like to do it. I like to exaggerate certain features, giving them my own twist. Then I like to place the figures I draw in a really cool background and give them a story.

Now my pencils, drawing board and sketchbook aren't glaring at me anymore. We seem to be getting along just fine!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fuzzy Feelings


I was really drawn to a couple of digital kits that I saw recently at Deviant Scrap. They can both be found there at Holliewood Studios. One was called Stark and the other was called Void. Today I started playing with the all-white images of the Stark kit.

The title for this piece came from a poem by Alice Fulton called Fuzzy Feelings and goes with my mood today. Here is the part of the poem that inspired this piece:

"Does grace mean alive and lucky
to be not writhing?
Or the ability to hide it
when you writhe?
The fissures == vacancies inside."

Some days you just go through the motions and do what you have to do. You're lucky not be writhing; or, at least you can hide it. But you do go on. I am fortunate that I have my husband, my art and my volumes of poetry and fiction to turn to in the dark times. And the dark times are not all bad. And they aren't really sad for me, just reflective right now. I'm okay with that.

So these fuzzy feelings are floating in the back of my head and I'm even doing some writing of my own. I used to write fiction and poetry years ago. I'm starting to dabble in fiction again. I went back and read some old stories I had started and never finished. I felt a little tug when I revisited the old characters and plots I had created. Now I'm playing around with their worlds again. I see it as just another form of creativity; another outlet.

I even used to write stories when I was in junior high school. My sisters would read them and then show them to their friends. They would then come back asking for more and I found myself writing mini soap operas because these girls were so involved with the characters I created. It was fun and even now one of my sisters still writes her stories. So maybe when she comes to visit again next month I will have some to trade with her!

I like how I can be inspired by poetry or music or even other images. It's funny how you don't even realize that something is inside you waiting to come forth until you see an image and it breathes life into it or a song moves you and wakes it up. Or maybe a poem evokes a fuzzy feeling that eventually manifests itself into a piece of art that is exactly what your soul would say if it had a voice.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Where I Hide

This is a digital piece I did this morning. It may seem sad but it's really not to me. Again, I was inspired by another poem of Matthew Zapruder's called, "The Artist Must Incline His Head Just So". The complete verse I quote from this piece reads:

"There is of course the question of fate,
and whether it can be angered.
Example: when not overpowered by grief
there are proper and improper ways to mourn.
In such cases my gestures are shadows
cast far from myself..."

I call this piece, "Where I Hide" because I tend to retreat into this dark area of myself when I want to think or just be alone. I like to put the ear buds in, crank up the music on the iPod and just let my imagination go. I've been getting a lot of ideas for this darker art lately. I like it and that's where my mind wants to be right now.

When I first read the complete poem it just took my breath away. So many of the verses struck a chord with me. Another one: "...Some art may be good, some dishonest." and another: "...My lack of compassion astounds me, and must not come to know itself." I've said before how much I love the poetry of Matthew Zapruder. I love it more every time I read it.

It's funny how the poetry I'm reading lately has fallen right along with my dark theme. Or maybe it's just that the poems I notice are those with this theme. Regardless, I'm loving the synchronicity. It just feeds the creative cycle.

I look at this piece and I feel like the fairy. I'm in a dark place but there's this swirling pool of mystery. I think I'll just jump in and see where it takes me...

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Prelude

I think I mentioned in the last post that I've been reading a lot of poetry lately. I have found some new (to me) awesome poets out there! My favorite poet right now is Matthew Zapruder. His new book of poems is called Come On All You Ghosts. Right up my alley, huh? Of course the title alone grabbed me, with my current obsession on all things dark and ghostly, etc.

I ordered his last two books and just devoured them. There is not one bad poem in the lot. I just love his style, his words, his imagery, everything. This is why I haven't been making any art! I've been swimming in poetry; drowning in it. Here's one example of a verse that made me swoon:
It's from his poem called Poem (yes, that's the title).

"... I love your love,
it feels dispensed from a metal tap
attached to a big vat gleaming
in a giant room full of shiny whispers."

Gah! I love this verse!! So I've been dancing around reading this guy's poetry books, filling my head with his imagery. Drunk on poetry with a goofy grin on my face. Hubby thinks I'm crazy.

BUT I did manage to take another of my many favorite poems of his and make the digital piece at the top of this post. It's from his poem The Prelude. Did I say it's another of my favorites?

Here's the part of a verse that really stuck with me and inspired this piece:

"... Come to the edge
the edge beckoned softly. Take
this cup full of darkness and stay as long
as you want and maybe a little longer."

The whole poem is like that. The entire BOOK is like that. So I'm making notes and filling an entire notebook of images and ideas for my encaustics, art journal, and paintings. My class with Sharon Tomlinson and Deryn Mentock just started (the first video went up yesterday) and Monica Zuniga's class is still in the early stages. I've been slow to get back in the swing but I'm feeling the stirrings.

I've said before that, unlike most people, I feel alive in the Fall and Winter. Summer is my blah time. Heat and humidity zap me and leave me feeling down. Leaves are starting to fall a little bit here. School has started again, football is starting up...the Fall will be right around the corner. I'm awakening little by little. The temperature won't stay near 90 much longer (thank God!) and then I'll be on track.

So, this is just a prelude to the things that are to come. I can't wait to see the rest!

Here are the covers of Matthew Zapruder's last two books. If you get a chance, and are a poetry lover, they are definitely worth it:




Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Tempest

It has been a couple of weeks since I posted. I've been taking a little down time. I haven't been feeling very artistic lately so I have used this time to get caught up on some reading. It's amazing the number of books I've been zipping through with my Nook, and I've missed that. I used to read so much more than I do now. I was also able to get some great poetry books (real ones, not ebooks) and have been using those as inspiration for some art pieces I'm excited to start working on. Plus I've really enjoyed just sitting and listening to the playlist on my Ipod. Heavenly!

I've been through these dry times before. This one is about to come to an end. The poetry and the music and the reading have all helped to re-fill my artistic well. And I'm starting two new courses: Mixed Media Faces by Monica Zuniga at Hands and Heart Ning site and Towers and Turrets, taught by Sharon Tomlinson and Deryn Mentock at All Norah's Art Ning site. Both look to be great boosts to my Muse!

I put together the little digital piece at the top of this post today. I thought I was going to enter it for Kimmie's digital challenge this week at Digital Whisper Ning site but I just realized it wasn't what she was asking for! We were given the image of the lady and were supposed to do her up her in a Teesha Moore style. Oops! I was just in a darker mood, I guess. So I used elements and papers from Tangie Baxter at Scrapbook Graphics (her Tempest kit). Appropriately enough, I call this one, "Tempest".

Hopefully other things going on here behind the scenes have calmed down enough so that I can really concentrate on these two classes this week. The videos are starting to go up and I am looking forward to sitting down with those and trying out the lessons. Hope to have more to show you real soon!

Friday, July 30, 2010

My Immortal

This is my entry for the Dark Whisper challenge this week at Digital Whisper Ning site. I love that Kimmie started a group for the darker arts! Just my thing. We were given the two images of the lady and the tree roots and then told to merge them together and take it from there. Ooh, I loved this one!

She posted a video from the group Evanescence called "My Immortal" to get us motivated. I had forgotten that I even had this CD! So of course I went hunting for it and finally dug it up. I played it as I was creating this piece; especially the song, My Immortal. Hmm...so of course I had to give it that title when I finished!

I just had the best visit with my sister! She was able to stay a full week. I limited my time on the computer because I wanted to spend as much time with her as I could. We don't get to see each other very much; only a couple of times a year and at Christmas so I really looked forward to her visit. We spent our time being silly, shopping, and watching movies (well, one movie at the theatre a few times: Eclipse). Plus, we watched videos here at home. We're both suckers for sappy, sad love stories. So there we sat, watching these sad scenes with a box of tissues between us, tears flowing. It was great! ;)

Then she helped me upgrade my sorely lacking technology supply (as in NONE). I did recently get a Nook (she's had hers for a while) so we both were able to make a visit to Barnes & Noble and plug in there for awhile for the freebies and shop for books & browse online. And, who knew I could even add music to my Nook! Yes, I have the Twilight and New Moon soundtracks loaded so I can listen to them as I re-read all of those books (I know, I'm hopeless...).

Also while she was here I was able to finally get an Ipod. Don't laugh. I've never felt the need to have one before. But she brought hers along and I was intrigued. Now I see what I was missing. So of course I wanted one. I LOVE mine. One of the reasons I didn't have any of these things before now was I'm so out of touch with how to even begin operating one or even where to start. That's why I needed her: she took care of helping me create my playlists and loading one onto my device. Now I'm happily plugged in!

But it was sad to see her leave and now it's very quiet here again. So I'm slowly getting back in the groove, catching up with the massive backlog of email and the different Ning sites and my favorite art blogs. Hopefully I'll be all caught up in the next few days. It was nice to have that time with her. It was very special to me. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Changes

I've been trying to stay balanced with all of the changes that are taking place right now. A lot of things are going on behind the scenes here that I'm not ready to talk about yet. But I have had a little down time to soak it all in.

One thing I keep noticing: the image of hearts keeps appearing. This digital piece has the same "dissolving heart" that I have in my encaustic piece (see last post). Here, I've changed the color (one of the advantages of digital art). I love the poetry of Mary Oliver and recently came across a poem that I couldn't get out of my head. It was after I'd made the encaustic. The poem is called, simply, "Heart Poem".

These were the verses that really spoke to me:

"My heart, that used to pump along so pleasantly,
has come now to a different sort of music.

There is someone inside those red walls, irritated
and even, occasionally, irrational...

...Now again it is the wild man..."

I'm cleaning out my art studio (again). But this time I'm getting rid of everything that doesn't speak to me anymore. For example, I've accumulated a lot of scrapbook materials and all of the things that go along with that. None of that interests me anymore. My sister is coming to visit on Monday and staying for a week. She is really into scrapbooking now and I plan to load all of this into her car and send it home with her.

This will help me clear my studio and my head for what I really want to do and to move on. I think I hold on too long to objects for sentimental reasons. That's not a bad thing. But now that I realize that holding on is exactly the thing that holds me back...it's time to let go.

So, hopefully these changes will bring about the "different sort of music" I'm hearing. Something is trying to break through the cracks...let's see if it succeeds.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Tangled Heart

This is my new encaustic mixed media piece: Tangled Heart. I didn't originally start out to do just one color with the encaustic. But after I laid down a couple layers of the titanium white and then the red, I didn't want to add any more color. I liked the bold splash of blood-red on the white.

When I started to fuse the red layer it was really cool how the bottom left splash ended up looking somewhat like a heart that was breaking up and melting. I didn't want to touch it anymore after I fused this layer so I decided to work on the next part: the resin heart.

This wood board had a 4 inch square cut in it already so I decided to add a heart there. I used some copper wire in different gauges in zig zag patterns behind the hole and backed that with copper mesh. Then I added a heart covered in paper and resin. Here's a closeup of that part:

I put this piece in our great room and I really like how it blends in with the other pieces I've done. This one measures 12" x 12" x 1 1/2". I have really missed working with the encaustics. It's been so hot already this summer and the studio upstairs is just unbearable to work in if I have to close off the air conditioning vents. In order to paint with the encaustics I have to plug in the heating element, open both windows, use the exhaust fan, etc. and it's just too hot in the room. But this week we had a little reprieve and it was in the mid 70's all week. What a treat to play with them again!

Other things happening: Kelly Rae Roberts' course ended this week and that was sad. It's been fun checking in with her and reading the posts and comments from the group. But the Facebook group will continue and that's been a great help. There are so many energetic, fun, talented women in that group! I love reading those posts and looking through the blogs.

My sister is coming to visit for a few days! Yay! Hopefully it will be in the next week or so. We always have a great time when she comes so I'm looking forward to that. And I'm putting finishing touches on the two faces I'm painting in Sharon Tomlinson's Technicolor Faces course. This one is very challenging but I'm giving it my best shot. I'll post those when they are finished if they don't turn out too alien-looking. :(

Have a safe holiday weekend everybody! We will be staying home working on different projects around here. One of mine will be getting the spare room ready for sis. And playing more with the drill in the work room. I'm still not ready to show that project yet. But it's coming along! More to come on that later...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Finding Balance

I can't believe how fast the weeks are going by. There are so many things I am trying to get caught up on and it seems like I'm just treading water here. It's very frustrating to realize that I haven't made as much progress in any of the areas I had hoped to and yet another week has passed! :(

I made this top piece as a sort of digital journal page. I was looking through my sketch book and came upon a series of fast little sketches that I did a while back. These were whimsical little drawings that I then transferred onto loose canvas. I am planning on painting these individual canvas pieces and doing more with them (yet another project). And I even know where I put the stack of cut out canvas! Yay for me!! :) The background is from Lori Davison at Scrapbook Graphics dot com.

Anyway, this digital piece came together as I was thinking about the word "balance". Kelly Rae has talked a lot about this in her ecourse. If you've been following along in the last couple of posts you know I'm taking her course on starting your own creative business. It has been an incredible course. So much information and so worth every penny. I have met some incredibly talented, generous and wonderful ladies along this journey! What a great experience!

Hubby and I met up with some old friends this weekend that were passing through town and had the best time with them. We met for lunch and I don't think I've laughed so much in a very long time. That got me to thinking about how I miss connecting with my friends in Ohio and made me a little more homesick for family/friends there. And then I started to think about the need to balance time with friends and time in the studio. I spend a lot of time alone creating and usually that's fine with me. But I realize that it's also just as important for me to get out and get some fresh air, interact with others and not be such a hermit all of the time.

I have all of these expectations for myself and what direction I want my art to take. Yet I also need to be aware of the need to balance that with time to take care of my health and to check in with my friends and family too. I'm so glad we had that time with our friends this weekend! It was a great eye opener and a fun trip down memory lane.

I do have a few works-in-progress to show. These are NOT anywhere near finished. This first one is from Sharon Tomlinson's class that I mentioned in an earlier post. Oh, it's such a challenge to paint faces! As you can see, I'm very new at it. I like the idea of the technicolor faces and this was my first try for critique. I used a model from a magazine as my inspiration and to be a guide for the placement of lights/darks on the face. Sharon has given me a few pointers and I'll now go in and see what I can do with it. What I like about this: the background!

This next one is a face that I sketched in my oversized journal I got a while back. It's filled with this heavy, cotton watercolor paper. Lots of texture and fun to draw on. This is purely for practice and play; no pressure. I sketched this face and then just started throwing paint on it. Actually it was paint left over from the face I was painting in Sharon's class. So we'll see where it ends up eventually:

And hubby has set me up a nice little workbench in the basement workshop. We've got a few drills, a bench vise, some copper tubing and lots of metal bits...more to come on that later!